Headlines: November 21st, 2006



Local authorities are supporting the idea of a radical overhaul of rubbish disposal and warning that people can no longer expect to throw away waste without thinking of the consequences. The Local Government Association has also backed the idea of councils being given powers rather than duties to charge for disposing of some rubbish.

In a new report the Institute for Public Policy Research and the Green Alliance have called on the Government to tax disposable products and those that are difficult to recycle as a way of encouraging manufacturers to produce less waste. It recommends a new tax to target products such as throw-away cameras, disposable razors and non-rechargeable batteries. The report points out that Sweden, Denmark and Belgium have all reduced the consumption of disposable products through the use of similar taxes.

Responding to the report, the LGA said that for decades people had been used to being able to throw their rubbish away without worrying about the consequences and added that those days were now over. “There needs to be a radical overhaul of the way in which rubbish is thrown away otherwise there is a real danger that the environment will continue to suffer and that council tax bills will have to rise,” warned Councillor Paul Bettison, Chairman of the LGA’s Environment Board.

He said councils should be granted power to choose whether or not they wanted to implement a ‘save-as-you-throw’ system, which could mean a reduction in council tax and a separate charge for waste collection. “Councils want a power, not a duty, so authorities can decide what’s best for their local area. It’s not about paying more it’s about paying in a different way. It’s also fairer, because if you throw out less you pay less,” he added.

Councils were already working hard to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, he said, but ultimately it was necessary to ensure that less waste was being produced in the first place and manufacturers must be made to pay towards the cost of getting rid of single use items such as nappies, batteries and throw-away cameras. The Government needed to ensure it was the polluter and not the people who paid, Councillor Bettison added.